News 2008                         


This page last Updated 04/03/2011

December 2008

20th December 2008

The HVTR line from Alumina Junction to Dwellingup has several locations which remain wet all year round. This is generally due to underground water being trapped in layers of clay, often over very large areas of rock. The water simply rises out of the ground or out of embankments etc where the ground layers have been severed or otherwise disturbed. One such location is at the 11.350km within a small cutting where the line approaches the Pinjarra Williams roadway. 

This area had been sodden for some time as well as heavily congested with grasses and weeds. On Saturday 20th December, the wet side of the cutting was excavated to create a path for the water to disburse to the west. In due course, a small culvert will be installed under a nearby access level crossing (at m/v in photo background) as well as a concrete culvert under the railway at approx 11.250km, immediately west of the access crossing.

17th December 2008

Adequate drainage on a railway is vitally important to maintaining a sound formation. With so many sleepers having been replaced at one time on the gravel ballasted HVTR line, drainage management and maintenance has been a very important aspect of the track recovery works. Part of the attention to drainage has been to improve areas which previously had poor drainage.

One example of this was the eastern side of the 14.273km (upper lights) Level Crossing, where, on Wednesday 17th December, a concrete culvert was installed. This culvert will cater for water coming down the steeply graded line as well as water from the road which all previously converged on the railway, depositing significant silt mud between the lines.

The pink lines in the photograph mark the locations of telephone cables which were identified for us by Cable Locates of Singleton prior to excavating.


4th December 2008

With the last of the ballast beams bolted into place and cross-tied, the task of ballasting was carried out. The track had been set & blocked to its correct position of line, level & cant allowing ballast to be tipped over it and pushed under the sleepers by hand using shovels. As the work progressed, the blocks were removed. The piece of timber on top of the rails in the foreground was used to minimize ballast within the checkrail.


November 2008

3oth November 2008

On Sunday 30th November, the 16km bridge sleepers were laid and the central 3 spans of ballast beams put into place.


28th November 2008

Roundly 90 metres east of the 16km bridge, a small rock cutting had clearly concentrated heat from the bushfires with devastating results to the track; this was found to be typical at all cuttings. Although the burnt out sleepers had been replaced earlier, significant lifting and lining was required to get the track back into order. Rock ballast was used here due to the large amount of water that flows in this steeply graded area during periods of heavy rain.


Bundles of sleepers were placed strategically along the bridge by crane in readiness for the laying of sleepers  which would soon be carried out.


Once the main structural work of erecting the bridge was completed, safety hand-railings were fitted for the deck completion, laying of sleepers and ballasting work. By this stage, the structure is bringing a real sense of satisfaction to everyone as it approaches completion.


25th November 2008

By the end of the day, all spans of the 16km bridge were in place and fully assembled.


In order to place the first and last spans, the abutment sill base plates were carefully set into place, on the sill hold down bolts, at their design heights as the first job on Tuesday 25th November. The laser level and staff can be seen in use for this task in the photos below.


19th November 2008

The 16km bridge was constructed from the centre outwards. Each component of all the new bridges was designed with ease of assembly in mind with everything made to bolt into place. A strong focus on accuracy meant that once components and bracing were assembled, the completed assembly was structurally and dimensionally correct in every respect. This feature made for easy straight forward erection.


18th November 2008

The following day, the central span was fully constructed. This span is a fixed structure providing fixed end points, to and from which the remaining spans were to be placed with their expansion & alignment tolerant bearing connections.


17th November 2008 

With the hold down bolts having been set into place the previous day, it was time to commence erection of the 16km bridge.

On Monday 17th November, the trestle base plates were accurately set to their respective design heights, the trestles erected and the first two span beams positioned. The first span placed being the central span.


15th November 2008 

The 16km bridge (located at 15.913km) with its 5 spans, is the largest and became the last of the 6 bridges to be rebuilt.

On Saturday 15th November, following careful and accurate marking out of the hold-down bolt locations by Crossland & Hardy surveyors, core drilling of the bolt holes was carried out on the 4 trestle footings. The drilling of the abutment sill bolt holes would be carried out later once the concrete repairs had been completed on the sill fronts.

Meanwhile, significant local earthworks, filling, levelling and surfacing were undertaken in the vicinity of the bridge to provide a stable and safe work area from which to erect the bridge structure.  

October 2008

29th October 2008


On Wednesday 29th October, the last ballast beam is lifted into place     thereby completing the structural assembly work of the 13km bridge.  

By days end, all sleepers had been placed and fastened to the track enabling the tamping machine to be moved across the bridge to continue its work.



28th October 2008



Track machinery waits impatiently in the background to cross over and get on with track work, as the 13km bridge progresses towards completion.



27th October 2008




With decking placed and temporary safety railings erected, construction of the 13km bridge continues.



24th October 2008

With most of the track repair works completed, there remains some 'housekeeping' to be done along the line including tidying up some of the access tracks and fire breaks. In order to derive the best long term and year round benefits from this work, several low lying areas as well as a gully on the east side of the 16km bridge need to be given culvert piping. 

Once again, our friends at CSBP Kwinana were quick to provide HVTR with with a quantity of redundant 300mm fibreglass pipes within a few days of us asking if they could help us as they had done earlier in the year. The adjacent photo shows the CSBP stores truck delivering the pipes to Pinjarra, all at no cost to HVTR.

23rd October 2008

With the trestles up, the 13km bridge quickly takes shape with placement of the span beams.

22nd October 2008


At last something bridge-like starts to appear at the 13km bridge site with the erecting of the four trestles.



8th October 2008

 On the afternoon of Wednesday 8th October, light ballasting was trialled at the 12km where several short but deep lifts were required.  The ST2 was used to propel two LA ballast wagons from Isandra to the 11.5km area where they were loaded by bobcat from a roadside stockpile of 'road base' crushed rock material. The trial was helpful in identifying how the material could best be placed, quantity assessments and most importantly operational and safety issues that exist with this work on the HVTR line with its uneven track shoulders and embankments etc. One outcome from the trials was a decision to equip two of the four LA wagons with hydraulically operated discharge doors in place of the existing manual system..

September 2008

25th September 2008

Another Bridge, Another Step, Another Milestone!

Early on Thursday Morning, 25th September, the 10km Bridge was complete, allowing the ballast regulator and tamping machine to progress further along the line  without the need for road transfer.


22nd September 2008




On Monday 22nd September, work commenced on erecting the structural steelwork of the 10km (Isandra) Bridge.




18th September 2008

If the fires weren't enough, nature and natural degradation made sure we did not forget the aging elements of the HVTR line. Below, the final stages of repair to the partly collapsed roof of a large timber culvert are attended to at the 9.120km, just to the east of Vezey road.

17th September 2008

On Monday 15th September, with most of the wet winter days over, workers from the Puffing Billy Railway of Victoria re-commenced work for HVTR on the Alumina Junction to Dwellingup line. The first task was to get on with the lifting, lining and tamping of the 6900 sleepers which had been previously inserted by the PBR team.

Inserting sleepers is only half the job, they must also be packed firm and to the correct level for the track by a process known as "Tamping". Modern machinery will lift, line and tamp. however with so many old sleepers still in the HVTR line, the modern processes would likely damage many sleepers which still have life in them. Therefore, older forms of mechanised maintenance have been employed with the use of a 1974 Plasser KST95 Beaver spot tamper owned by the Pemberton Tramway Co. This machine is a well traveled one, having been originally supplied to the Mt Isa railway, later sold to the Lithgow Zig Zag railway, then to the PTCo where it worked on their Lyall Line and now going strong at HVTR Pinjarra.

 The photos below, taken early morning on Wednesday 17th September, show the tamping work well underway near the 6.5km point, with the Pemberton Tramway Co tamper being operated by PBR team member, Ian McCorkelle. 



10th September 2008

Looking somewhat like an ICBM ready for take off, ex WAGR Shunting Tractor ST2 is loaded onto the John Holland Track Machine Transporter at HVTR's Pinjarra Depot for delivery to the Alumina Junction-Dwellingup line and unloading at Vezey Road, near Isandra Siding.

ST2 will be utilised for light maintenance movements on the closed HVTR line and at Isandra Siding, until one of the heavier HVTR diesel mechanical Drury locos can be deployed for the main ballasting work.

ST2 was recovered from Rottnest Island several weeks earlier, courtesy of the Rottnest Island Board, where it had been operating during the latter half of the 1990's on the island's tourist railway following restoration of ST2 and its sister ST1 in 1995 by Willis Engineering in Rivervale WA. 



9th September 2008

Mid morning on Tuesday 9th September, the first two of four LA ballast hopper wagons were unloaded at the Vezey Road level crossing having been transported up from the Pemberton Tramway by JJ Hawkins & Co, operators of the John Holland rail machine transporter. The second two LA's were delivered the next day. In due course, these will be used to place ballast in areas that require it following the heavy sleeper replacements along the line.


1st September 2008

The uppermost portions of the 10km Bridge abutments required concrete filling as part of changing the bridge from a ballasted deck type to an open transom structure. With these having been poured on Saturday August 30, all of the remaining formwork was stripped on Monday 1st September , revealing the rough finished product. Some further trimming etc will be carried out in due course making the finished work all look like that which is shown in the lower right picture of the #2 pier.



August 2008

24th August 2008

On Sunday 24th August, the formwork for repairs on the East and West abutments of the 10km Bridge at Isandra were completed and the special repair concrete mixed in a special mixer and poured. Ian Willis, Ray Cooper and Andrew Bremner are shown below, carrying out the micro-concrete mixing, pouring & finishing.


23rd August 2008

On Saturday 23rd August, work continued on preparing the West and East abutments of the 10km Bridge for re-concreting of the damaged areas. The work involved a thorough breaking out of all damaged areas back to sound concrete followed by edging and benching with a diamond saw. Once this was completed, starter bars, reinforcing bars and threaded rods for securing the formwork were installed, followed by the formwork panels.


18th August 2008

New meets Old, or Vice Versa???... Monday 18th August  saw the first train on the HVTR line at Alumina Junction since the January 2007 fires. The John Holland re-sleepering machine arrived hauled by South Spur Rail Services (Coote Industries) R1902. With the line still closed for repairs, HVTR has quarantined and made the initial 800m from Alumina Junction available to John Holland Rail for the creation of a temporary forward base and sleeper depot. This will be used for two projects, the relaying of the Alcoa private siding (on the left below) and the re-sleepering of the WestNet Rail line between Pinjarra and Brunswick. An area of approximately 7500 square metres has been cleared and will be surfaced with 400mm thickness of limestone to form the necessary hardstand area.


17th August 2008

On Sunday August 17, repairs were completed to the tops of the two piers at the Isandra 10k bridge with the pouring of micro concrete to the formed up areas of the piers. As can be seen, there was a deal of scaffold work required before the work on these piers could be carried out. Boral - Perth Formwork have continued to support HVTR with advice and discounted rates for everything we have required throughout the whole re-instatement project which has greatly assisted HVTR and we are very appreciative of their help.


8th August 2008

A little further progress has been made at the 16km Bridge with the installation of two small retaining wall structures immediately adjacent to each abutment base. This was necessary due to the steep terrain surrounding the bridge and the original abutments having been constructed with their bases quite high on the formed embankment. These retaining walls will ensure the abutments are not undermined by weather or local subsidence.


6th August 2008

Prior to the fires, the points operating & locking mechanisms at Isandra were installed on timber framings which of course burnt well being so old. New modern mechanisms on steel frame were installed at Isandra Siding over Tuesday 5th and Wednesday 6th August.


July 2008

29th July 2008

This month, saw the last of the steel sections for the 13km Bridge being finished.  The photos below are of the steel sections being worked on at Watercon's workshop at Malaga.

Earlier in the month, all sections for the 16km Bridge had been completed, galvanized and delivered to Pinjarra. Steelwork for the 3km and 10km Bridges having been completed earlier this year.


June 2008

28th June 2008

Steam Power recommenced at Dwellingup on Saturday 28th June with the return to service of the 111 year old G123. The photo below shows G123 crossing the new Davis Brook Bridge on its return to Dwellingup with the first service back from Etmilyn. This scene will be familiar to some people as a much older photo was used for one of HVTR's many postcards. Those interested in comparing the scenes will find the older photo elsewhere on the HVTR website.

A bright sunny day on 28th June provided an opportunity to take the photos below showing the finished product following the formwork having been stripped from the last major concrete works poured at the 16km Bridge on 20th June.


20th June 2008


On Friday 20th June, with the water level back down, the last of the major concrete repair works at the 16km Bridge were completed with the pouring of retaining footings around both west and east abutments. 

The photo on the left shows the west abutment with the concrete pump supplied by Boomcrete set up and awaiting the arrival of the concrete truck.


1st June 2008

Following the heavy rains of the previous day, the water was also well up at the completed 3km bridge.

May 2008

31st May 2008

It would have to be said that we just got all that concreting at the 16km bridge done in the nick of time!!

On Saturday 31st May, whilst working on the last stage of the concrete works required at the 16km bridge abutments, it rained a bit. Well quite a bit actually, as can be seen from the photo below, only 8 days on from having finished the footings.

22nd May 2008

Following a couple of days of initial curing and a bit of rain, the formwork was stripped from the new footings at the 16km bridge site.

20th May 2008

With the reinforcing steelwork completed mid morning, it was in with the concrete, supplied by Hanson's Mandurah plant and pumped into place by Boomcrete of Mandurah. The 4 footings consumed a little over 30 tonnes of concrete.


19th May 2008


5th May 2008

With the first new concrete at the 16km bridge poured, accurate towelling off was carried out to ensure the necessary good base for the main formwork to be erected on. The Boss (Ian Willis) would have to be happy with this, everyone head down backside up working!


The task of replacing the 40 odd culverts lost in the bushfires has continued in the background and at Monday evening 5th May Robbo's Contracting of Pinjarra had progressed to culvert #28 at the 16.965km point. This culvert is in a high catchment area requiring a larger pipe than most of the other culverts. All of the replacement culverts have been bedded in, filled to rail height and compacted with crushed rock 'road base' to ensure potential for subsidence under traffic is significantly reduced or eliminated. The very heavy rains of 2007 turned the burnt out culverts into large washaways resulting in large quantities of road base fill being required.

4th May, 2008

Looking more like an archaeological dig of ancient ruins than a railway bridge, work had progressed to where all blinding forms were completed by knock off time on Sunday 4th May  as Rob, Ashley & Paul of Puffing Billy Railway proudly show off their handiwork.


3rd May 2008

At the beginning of May, work re-commenced at the 16km bridge with the forming and pouring of concrete blinding slabs around the 4 fire damaged trestle footings. These slabs will provide a flat and level base for the main formwork to be erected from and fastened to, preventing them from moving or floating as they are filled with concrete to reform the trestle footings. Accuracy of the blinding slabs was ensured so as to automatically provide accurate finished heights for the completed footings.


April 2008

24th April 2008

On Thursday 24th April, rails were placed over the 3km bridge by the Puffing Billy Railway team which completed the first of the four bridges between Alumina Junction and Dwellingup. The original ballasted deck bridge had rail joints upon it however with the new transom bridge rail joints have been arranged off the bridge structure, necessitating cutting of the original line which is being carried out in the adjacent photograph by John Shaw as Paul Trew looks on ensuring the cut is square and 'true'. The machine in the background of the photo is a tamping machine which arrived from the Pemberton Tramway several days earlier.  

12th April 2008 

Saturday 12th April was a big day.  An access road bridge was created at Isandra by placing a wagon chassis across the waterway, ballast regulator was transported from Dwellingup to immediately west of the 3km Bridge, sleeper Scarifier was transported from Isandra also to the west of the 3km Bridge and last but not least the 3km Bridge steel work was erected.


Late Saturday afternoon 12th April, the structural steel work of the 3km Bridge was fully erected. Just as the steel work at Etmilyn and Davis Brook went together with speed and ease, so too did the 3km Bridge. The structural steel work has all been manufactured to a very high standard by WaterCon of Malaga to all bolted designs created with HVTR, based on WAGR principals for all welded 20BSU steel bridges.

On Saturday morning a wagon chassis (QU25029) was placed by crane across the waterway immediately to the southern side of the Isandra Bridge.  This chassis will be re-decked and provide access for bridge reconstruction as well as ongoing maintenance and emergency access as it joins what were two dead-ends of a fire break.

9th April 2008 - Isandra Siding

On Monday 7th April work re-commenced at Isandra Siding and the 10Km Bridge.  Point timbers required replacing at each end of the siding and a significant quantity of the sleepers in the siding, which had been burnt from the fire.  

Photo on the left was taken Wednesday 9th April shows work progressing at the eastern end of Isandra.  The 10km Bridge is immediately beyond the Scarifier, which can be seen in the far distance of the photo.


5th April 2008 - Dwellingup Depot

On Saturday 5th April the sleeper Scarifier having completed some 6500 sleeper replacements from the 3km Bridge to Dwellingup, was transported to Isandra for the completion of sleepering the siding and then the final portion of track between the 3km Bridge and Alumina Junction.

Photo on the right shows Scarifier loaded at Dwellingup on a tilt tray truck owned and operated by local Dwellingup Contractor Dave Every.

3rd April 2008 - 3Km Bridge


Left is a view showing the new M24 hold down bolts, held in place by special templates after having been set in place using the HIT500 chemical anchor system.



2nd April 2008 - 3Km Bridge


The first of the 6 bridges from Pinjarra is the 3km Bridge.  The concrete repairs at this bridge site were completed in May 2007 utilising special early funding provided by the Peel Development Commission.  In April this year (2008) work commenced on completing the bridge.  On Wednesday 2nd April the concrete foundations were core drilled to accommodate the new hold down bolts which will be chemically secured in place with a HILTI product - HIT500.

March 2008

30th March 2008 - Davis Brook Bridge


On the 30th March ballasting of the Davis Brook Bridge was completed. The ballast was delivered nearby from road transport, then placed on the hi-rail using a bobcat loader, then shovelled into place by hand.  Approximately 27 tonnes of 50mm hard rock ballast was placed in this way over the 3 spans of the Davis Brook Bridge and the single span of the Etmilyn Bridge.

19th March 2008 - 16Km Bridge


On the 18th and 19th March the abutment sills of the 16km Bridge were cut with hydraulically powered diamond saw (1.8m in diameter) to provide a non-canted mounting surface for the new bridge spans.  When previously built in timber, the bridge was constructed on a grade as well as being canted.  The new steel structure will have the cant accommodated within the ballasted deck.

The concrete cutting was carried out by Freo Concrete Cutting.

16th March 2008 - Etmilyn Bridge


On the 16th March the first bridge was completed, this was the Etmilyn Bridge, the 6th bridge on the line from Pinjarra.

Tony, Fish and Dave from Puffing Billy Railway of Victoria proudly posed for the occasion.



2nd March 2008 - Davis Brook Bridge


Over the 1st and 2nd March the structural steelwork was fully erected for the Davis Brook Bridge






February 2008

29th February 2008 - Etmilyn Bridge


On the 29th February trestles and beams were placed at the Etmilyn Bridge site.

Work continued to progress throughout the month of February, principally on sleeper replacements east of Scarp Road.

January 2008

29th January 2008 - DM Loco V4   

DM Loco V4 has been at Pinjarra for approximately 18 months having a variety of work undertaken prior to its return to Dwellingup for use on the Forest and Restaurant Train services.

The loco was originally brought down to Pinjarra by John Holland's road transporter following a wheel set failure where one wheel had moved inward on the leading axle.

Work on the locomotive is steadily progressing  and it is proposed that this loco will be utilized for ballasting work on the repaired line from Alumina Junction to Dwellingup prior to its return to the Dwellingup roster.

29th January 2008 -Restoration Work - Level Crossing Equipment

At the HVTR Pinjarra Depot, work is progressing on the level crossing equipment for the two actively protected crossings on the line to Dwellingup which were also lost in the bush fires.

The first stages of this work involves restoration of recovered electrical cabinets donated to HVTR by WestNet Rail.



19th January 2008 - 13km Bridge Site work                                                                                                          

13km bridge site - Eastern Abutment

With the retaining soldiers and deadmen securely reinstall, the abutment sheeting replacement commenced.

Above Puffing Billy Railway Contractors can be seen compacting the back fill which has been stabilize of the addition of 3 to 5%  cement powder mixed in with the original soil believed to have been railed to the site from the Isandra Siding WAGR sandpit when the 3 span bridge was constructed in replacement of the original several span structure many years ago.

Image to the left is a view of the 13km bridge - Western 
Abutment showing the progressive installation of 230mm x 75mm Jarrah sheeting timbers.  The face timbers are 4.8m long and the wings 5.1m.  The sheeting has been treated with Parchem Timber Preserver (copper napthalate) and will be 17 boards high upon completion.






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